Tokophobia among First Time Expectant Fathers
*Corresponding Author: Dr. Thilagavathy Ganapathy, Principal, HOD, Professor-OBG Nursing, The Oxford College of Nursing, 6/9, I Cross, Hongasandra, Begur, Bangalore-560068, Karnataka, India. Email: ID: email@example.com, M:9900759255, (O):080-30319803, Fax:080-30219829
Fear of childbirth has become a modern day epidemic amongst new fathers. Becoming a father can be one of the most significant events in a life of a man. Whereas the fathers are often neglected and people tend to forget that fathers also have valid feelings, hopes, and fears about pregnancy, childbirth and their new babies. First-time fathers are particularly vulnerable for negative experiences during childbirth which increases the risk for paternal postpartal depression which may negatively affect his relationship with the mother and child.
The aim of the study was to describe the prevalence of tokophobia-- childbirth related fears among first time expectant fathers and associated factors.
A descriptive cross sectional design consisting of individual interviews using Childbirth Related Fear Questionnaire (CRFQ) consisting of 30 Likert-type items, scored on a 4-point scale, ranging from low fear (1) to severe fear (4), with the scores ranging from 30 to 120 was used. A purposive sample of 113 first time expectant fathers attending the antenatal clinics along with their low risk term primigravidae at 36–40 weeks of gestation in three maternity hospitals participated.
The results revealed that larger proportion (78.4%) of first time expectant fathers suffered from Tokophobia -fear of childbirth during pregnancy. The men's fear was primarily related to the health and life of their partner and child, and their main worry concerned with the child. The men also had a higher level of general fear on labor &delivery, professional competency, behavior, insufficient medical treatment, fear of not being treated with respect and dignity, fear of partners’ & own capabilities, fear of exclusion from decision making, financial matter and fear of responsibilities as fathers. There were no statistically significant differences in the baseline characteristics of men and tokophobia.
Healthcare professionals need to acknowledge that first time expectant fathers have needs of their own during pregnancy and childbirth. Fathers also worry and fear about the child and the woman, so they need explanations about normal changes as well as possible complications. Experiencing intense fear related to childbirth constitutes a significant burden for expectant fathers. This calls for preventive obstetric care strategies to identify, involve and support fearful expectant fathers in their own right, in all aspects of maternity care and be offered opportunities to discuss their feelings and any fears that they may have.
First time expectant fathers, Childbirth related fear, Tokophobia.